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27th Nov, 2021

Pears make vow amid cricket racism probe

Rob George 22nd Nov, 2021

COUNTY cricket chiefs have vowed to take a stand against racism as the crisis engulfing the English game continues.

Fanos Hira, chairman of Worcestershire CCC, delivered a heartfelt statement hours before MPs heard the devastating and damning testimony from former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq on Tuesday (November 16).

Rafiq, 30, told a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee racist language was ‘constantly’ used during his time at Yorkshire.

In an emotional testimony, he also said the club gave him ‘inhuman’ treatment after his son was still-born in 2017.

He added the issues he faced at Yorkshire were ‘without a shadow of a doubt’ widespread in domestic cricket.

Mr Hira said the New Road club was completely opposed to any form, or any type, of discrimination and said it was vital any form of historic or current discrimination was addressed with rigour, proper process and promptly.

“Discrimination needs to be completely eradicated from our game and from society,” he said.

“We continue to work alongside ECB and PCA with ongoing education programs which focus on diversity and education for all.

“We spend considerable time with our own staff focussing on governance procedures, expected standard of conduct and explaining clear reporting lines for whistleblowing,” the Pears boss added.

His comments follow the thoughts of Pears all-rounder Moeen Ali who revealed last week he ‘wasn’t surprised’ to hear of Rafiq’s treatment.

“I would say there’s probably more stories out there that people haven’t heard of and I won’t be surprised if more do come out,” the England star said.

Mr Hira linked leadership on and off the field in the fight against racism and to ensure greater equality in sport.

“Our constitution approved in April 2019 is a living document. Whilst we are pleased with progress on gender diversity – with 40 per cent of our board comprising of women – ongoing updates to our constitution are needed to further improve diversity,” he said.

“There is much more that the game can do to tackle these issues, and we look forward to a co-ordinated response from the ECB and all First-Class Counties.”

A confidential reporting service by the Professional Cricketers’ Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board has been set up for anyone who wishes to come forward with allegations of discrimination at New Road or elsewhere in the game.

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